Fly of the Week: Balanced Leech

buy balanced leech fly pattern

As the days get longer and the coldsnaps get shorter, my pulse quickens—it’s ice out-time again. Lakes often hold the largest trout we see each year and when spring finally arrives, the urge to tangle with large, hungry fish is impossible to ignore. As the ice breaks up, oxygen pumps into the water and the shallows quickly warm a few degrees. Fish metabolism spikes along with their need to eat.

What are you going to give them? Think about it: Big, hungry fish and little-to no insect activity. Give them what they want, meaning something big enough to chew on. Feed them a Balanced Leech.

While leeches are not likely to be active in the chill waters of spring, the Balanced Leech fly is hard for fish to pass up. It might mimic a small minnow, but regardless, it must look like food, because it fools large trout again and again. If you had to pick one fly to fish lakes with during this time of the year, the Balanced Leech would be a great choice.

You can fish Balanced Leeches several ways. A floating line, long leader, and a slow-strip retrieve is popular. This is great when a lift/fall, jigging action is desired. Another popular technique is to use an indicator to suspend the fly at a specific depth. This works great for picking up fish that are frequently cruising at a consistent level. While a good old Bugger works under an indicator, too, if you really want to be in the game, you want a Balanced Leech.

Make sure to use a non-slip mono loop for proper action and balanced orientation.

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I fly fish to live (25+ years guiding). I live to fly fish (obsession). At the age of two, I captured my first Bluegill in Southern Michigan. Since then, I have never stopped looking into waters for fish. My first wild trout came from the waters of Glacier NP a few years later. I spent much of my youth chasing fish in Wisconsin, the Great Lakes and throughout central Canada. I went to Alaska in 1989, where I met my wife, started a family and spent 26 seasons guiding anglers. Great Falls and the North 40 Fly Shop are now home base. Stop by and lets talk fish, bear encounters or even my experience with Bigfoot.

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